Myofascial Release, as developed by John F. Barnes, PT, is a whole body hands-on treatment approach that is safe and is highly effective for easing pain and headaches, decreasing stiffness, improving mobility and restoring function. Specifically, Myofascial Release elongates and releases tight fascia (connective tissue) by placing gentle, firm, and sustained pressure or stretch into the restricted tissue for a minimal of 3-5 minutes. This time element is critical in order to achieve permanent elongation and lasting results.
After a series of releases occur, the tissue becomes softer and more pliable, taking pressure off pain sensitive structures, and eliminating painful symptoms.
Take a look at live fascia!
The following video is an exerpt from educational DVD, “Interior Achitectures”, by French Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Jean – Claude Guimberteau, MD. Magnified 25 times using an endoscopy HD camera.
Fascia is another name for connective tissue that spreads throughout our body like a 3-dimensional web. The fascial system is a whole body system that surrounds, interfaces and infuses with every other system and cell in your body. It is not just a system of separate coverings. It is actually one structure that exists from head to foot without interruption. Each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by fascia, like the yarn in a sweater.
In the normal healthy state, fascia is relaxed and wavy in configuration. It has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. However, when we experience physical trauma, scarring, inflammation, repetitive movement patterns, poor posture, and stress, fascia loses its elasticity. It becomes restricted and forms tight areas in the body which place abnormal pressure on pain sensitive structures. Fascial restrictions have been estimated to have a force of up to 2000 pounds per square inch; this enormous amount of pressure can literally crush any of the vital structures enveloped by a restriction. Trauma such as whiplash, falls, surgery, habitual poor posture, and repetitive stress have a cumulative effect. Our body is pressure system. When there is pressure on the body, it elicits symptoms such as pain, numbness, and tingling. Since fascia infuses and surrounds all organs, blood vessels, muscles, nerves, etc down to the cellular level, there may also be symptoms that you cannot feel.
Trauma causes change in the skeletal system influencing comfort and the proper functioning of our body. The skeletal diagram demonstrates restrictions within the fascial system, which can lead to imbalances in the musculoskeletal system. These powerful myofascial restrictions begin to “pull” the body out of normal alignment with gravity, and often contribute to chronic pain and dysfunction. These changes can affect our flexibility and stability, and are a determining factor in our ability to withstand stress and strain.
It is important to note that Myofascial restrictions do not show up on any of the medical tests that are currently available (X-rays, CT scans, MRI’s, blood work). This has caused Myofascial related problems to be ignored or misdiagnosed for a long period of time.